Steering Wheel Crooked -- Pull to Right | Ford Explorer - Ford Ranger Forums - Serious Explorations

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Steering Wheel Crooked -- Pull to Right

MistahYebba

Well-Known Member
Joined
June 29, 2015
Messages
255
Reaction score
3
City, State
Clearwater, Florida
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Ford Explorer XLT
Hi everyone!

I am the proud new owner of a 2005 Explorer XLT, and with a new vehicle comes new challenges!

Day 1:
The tires are worn down quit a bit. Not the worst, but should probably be replaced.

When driving, the steering wheel puts/pulls itself to about 1 o'clock (or a little bit before that). This obviously means I am drifting to the right. If I hold the steering wheel straight (against the pull), it goes straight. If I let go of the steering wheel, it goes straight back to the 1 o'clock (or a little bit before that). I want to be able to drive straight without touching the steering wheel.

Day 2:
I get 4 brand new tires put on.

This has little to no effect on the drivability. Sure, I have more traction, more "control" (especially on wet roads), and perhaps some more "cushion" on the road, but I am not driving any straighter. I guess the pull was not happening due to tread separation or anything like that.

Day 3:
I had no time for an alignment on Day 2, so I waited until today. I am sure that they aligned everything until the sheet shows all green boxes, or whatever. I did not get a sheet to look at.

I was not sure if I should expect the alignment to get rid of the pull to the right.

Needless to say, on the drive home (after the alignment), it may have even been worse.

The steering wheel still pulls to the right when I let go of it.

HOWEVER, now, a centered steering wheel is not truly center. To drive straight, I must hold it very slightly cocked to the right.

If I hold the steering wheel dead center, I'll actually be drifting to the left!

And of course, once I let go, it goes back to that dreaded 1 o'clock pull to the right again.

----------

I just want to be able to place my steering wheel in the center and have it actually drive straight.

I want to be able to let go of the steering wheel and it does not "pull" and drift me to the right.

What gives?

On my old '92 Explorer, I adjusted what I am pretty sure is called the "drag link" to make my slightly crooked steering wheel straight again. A couple of turns, and a center steering wheel was ACTUALLY center.

Are there drag links to adjust on an '05? Would this just be a band-aid?

I know that the pull to the right will still need to be addressed, even if my steering wheel was centered, but I have to start somewhere.

Any tips?
 


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mbrando1994

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 17, 2015
Messages
274
Reaction score
6
Year, Model & Trim Level
2003 Ford Ex XLT
4.0 V6
Okay, to answer the main question here, it seems like the steering wheel wasn't centered before alignment, both times possibly. Not the easiest thing to change but also not the hardest. The alignment shop may not have even noticed it as many places I've been to mostly concern themselves with the wheels themselves. I recommend going to a different shop.

If the vehicle is wandering or pulling physically to the left or right it's either an alignment issue, worn parts, or play in the steering system, pay close attention to the steering shaft going down to the rack, there's a ujoint in there that tends to get messed up after some time.

If it's just your steering wheel being centered 'off' center, that's something that has to be adjusted by disconnecting the bottom of the shaft from the rack, and readjusting alignment afterwards with the steering wheel now centered, if you've never worked on steering before it's best to let the shop do it or you could ruin your clockspring.

Next, I would have held off on those brand new tires until you clear all your suspension and steering parts and get a cleared alignment--you should always receive a copy of the before measurements and the after measurements. First shop I went to told me nothing of the 10 or so parts I needed to replace, so it kept coming back out of alignment by the time I drove it home. Be sure their not missing anything. If you say the tires were worn, how were they worn? This could indicate worn parts that need replacement
 




Number Twelve

Well-Known Member
Joined
August 31, 2015
Messages
490
Reaction score
77
City, State
15 miles west of Tampa Florida
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Ford Explorer XLT
I had both of these problems. Adjusting the tie rods by 3/4 of a turn centered the steering wheel and then the turn signals cancelled correctly after finishing a turn. Swapping the tires, front to rear, cured the pull to the right, proving the tires were the cause.
 




apenland01

Well-Known Member
Joined
September 11, 2009
Messages
324
Reaction score
18
City, State
Tucson AZ
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Eddie Bauer V8 4.6L
Any noise to go with it? Right wheel bearing hub heading south? If you are driving straight and let go of the wheel, it should track straight, no matter the position of the steering wheel. If the alignment was just done and you have new tires, it leads me to believe something is dragging and causing that pull to the right. If the wheel actually moves itself after you let go, it could be something with resistance that shouldn't have resistance. Just a thought.
 




apenland01

Well-Known Member
Joined
September 11, 2009
Messages
324
Reaction score
18
City, State
Tucson AZ
Year, Model & Trim Level
2005 Eddie Bauer V8 4.6L
And I would echo the recommendation by brando to use a different shop to double check the alignment. When a tech does an alignment, they do a road test before and after. When they do the "after" road test, get in the car with them and see how it behaves. Make the tech hit the brakes without holding the wheel and see how it behaves. If there is any issue, ask what is causing it and what needs to be done.
 




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